No one likes swallowing their pride and acknowledging their own faults. Yet that is certainly the position I found myself in at the end of last week when the news broke of Barack Obama’s “published prayer” from Jerusalem.
It seems the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee scripted a brief prayer to place in the Western Wall during a recent visit to the Holy City. That prayer, intended to be a private petition to God, was confiscated by a young seminary student and leaked to an Israeli paper, which published it last Friday.
I’m not sure what motivation the paper could have had for printing such a personal item, but part of me is very glad that it did…because it taught me a lesson in humility. The simple and concise prayer asked God for protection for Obama’s family, wisdom, and that God would make Barack an instrument of His will. It was a prayer that if I would have read with the right perspective would have been encouraging and heartening. Here is a man with more attention being paid to him than a rock star, and receiving media adulations as though he were already the president. Yet when given the opportunity to communicate with God privately, he humbly thought of his family first and asked the Lord to help him fight the evil of pride. Pretty remarkable.
But in what was certainly a sad commentary on the state of my own heart, my immediate response was to begin combing through this man’s prayer looking for something to debate…something to pick apart. I started examining the order of his requests to God to look for misplaced priorities. I even felt that haughty spirit which said, “This man supported infanticide and has promised to be the greatest champion of the homosexual movement that this country’s ever seen. How can he approach God with such ungodly beliefs?”
And then in the midst of that ride on my spiritual high-horse, I stopped and asked myself another question: “What in the world is wrong with me?” There is a seemingly infinite list of potential answers to that question, but at least one was becoming quite clear. I had become so obsessed in combating the candidacy of Barack Obama because of his many anti-Biblical positions, that I’d lost sight of my first duty as a Christian: to love and pray for this man who could quite possibly be the next President of the United States. I felt an incredible burden of shame when it dawned on me that to this point, I had not yet uttered one word in prayer for Barack Obama. For a self-professing Christian, that’s disgraceful.
Let there be no mistake: people of faith have a responsibility to stand for moral truth and Godly principles. As uncomfortable as it may be for some, that means opposing Barack Obama’s candidacy until he repudiates, rejects, and turns from many of the policies he is now supporting. But people of faith also have the privilege and duty to lift Barack Obama up in prayer. He needs it…and my friends, so do we.
Peter W. Heck